OLYMPIA — Brick buildings have their charms, but in a seismically active state like Washington, they have their dangers too.
The first-ever statewide inventory of unreinforced masonry buildings finds nearly 4,500 structures that could crumble or drop heavy debris during an earthquake — and an estimated 113 of them are in Wenatchee.
The database is available in an online, searchable map.
The state report is a starting point for prioritizing upgrades for earthquake-vulnerable buildings. It’s recommended that exterior masonry be reinforced and strengthened, so those stately bricks don’t turn into deadly falling objects.
Washington may be at risk from the Big One, but there are no state requirements to retrofit old buildings, and no state grant money available to pay for it. The state Senate recently considered public matching dollars for such projects, but eventually dropped the proposed language from an earthquake safety bill.
Wenatchee isn’t alone with its collection of brickwork — there are 114 potentially vulnerable brick buildings in Ellensburg, 727 in Yakima, and more than 1,200 in Seattle.
Jefferson Robbins: 679-7013